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Cobalt Blue Holdings names Iwatani Corporation as potential partner in Cobalt Nickel Refinery Project

Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd has executed a non-binding agreement to partner with Iwatani Corporation to develop the Cobalt Nickel Refinery Project in the Kwinana Industrial Area near Perth.

Iwatani is a leading Japanese multinational company that specialises in the production and trading of commodities.

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It has a large trading arm looking to supply its Japanese partners in major global electric vehicle markets, including the United States.

The proposed site for the cobalt-nickel refinery plant is the Doral Fused Materials (DFM) site, which is owned by Iwatani Australia and is in East Rockingham WA near the Fremantle Port.

Cobalt Blue CEO Joe Kaderavek said: “Cobalt Blue is excited to have a potential Refinery partner of the calibre of Iwatani Corporation.

“Iwatani Corporation brings significant value to the relationship as an established large-scale trader of battery minerals into the important Japanese and US battery supply chain and as an established landholder/operator in the Kwinana district.

“We also acknowledge the supportive Government policy settings of Allied Nations – in particular those of Japan, Australia and the US – to diversify critical mineral supply chains.

“Against this backdrop our partnership with Iwatani Corporation has developed and grown as we look to move to the development phase of the Refinery.”

Cobalt Blue believes that partnering with an existing property owner would substantially reduce development time for the Cobalt Nickel Refinery Project.

Iwatani is currently considering proposing an appropriate level of equity ownership in the refinery project via a funding contribution (subject to binding agreement).

The refinery project includes a Stage 1 3rd party feedstock and Stage 2 Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) feedstock expansion.

Senior management from Iwatani Australia Pty ltd recently visited the Cobalt Blue Demonstration Plant in Broken Hill.

The group is pictured in front of the plant whilst on an inspection tour of the upscaled refinery operations.

Iwatani Australia Pty Ltd managing director Kan Ueda said: “Iwatani Australia is pleased to engage with Cobalt Blue to develop Australia’s first cobalt sulphate refinery.

“We look forward to converting our agreement into a long term relationship”.

Cobalt Blue has started a large-scale raw materials testing program for the Cobalt Nickel Refinery Project.

The intention is to trial up to 5 tonne samples from third-party suppliers. Samples would typically be cobalt hydroxide or cobalt-nickel hydroxide or other intermediates from existing operations.

The commercial objective of the test work is to finalise operating requirements and costs of processing different global feedstocks prior to a Final Investment Decision (FID) for the project, which is expected by mid-2024.


Source: proactive

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